parent opinion

"According to these 11 'bad parenting traits', I'm the worst parent ever."

There are some days as a parent where you just need a little pick me up; a bit of reassurance that you aren’t totally f*cking up raising your children. Last weekend I had one of these days.

After showing my two kids the TV game show The Floor is Lava, which is essentially an epic obstacle course with fake lava on the ground that contestants have to avoid falling into, they decided to replicate what they had just seen.

This involved my youngest jumping from the coffee table to the couch at precisely the same time as the cat, which resulted in a squashed and terrified cat scratching the absolute shit out of my daughter’s hand while she fell onto the hard, tiled floor.

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After band-aiding my daughter and consoling my cat with pats, I decided to browse some parenting articles online, in an attempt to find a bigger failure than my own (don’t judge me - we all do it).

I found an article titled 11 Bad Parenting Traits You Have – Without Even Knowing It, and at first glance I thought I’d struck gold.

Surely this article would make me feel a bit more confident in my parenting capabilities and not so idiotic. There was no way I possessed even close to all 11 bad traits.

I was wrong. Because here they are.

1. You talk to your child instead of with them.

While most of the time, the conversations with my children are two ways – I listen to them when they speak and respond in turn (i.e. we converse), there are other times when the dialogue is more one way. 

For instance: “No, cutting up the pieces of packaging foam to cover the entire living room with ‘snow’, while maybe creative, is not the greatest of ideas and yes, you do have to clean it up and no, we are not discussing it.”

No response required. Do I feel guilty about this? No.

2. You get lost in negative thoughts.

Sorry for feeling some negative emotions and thoughts from time to time. I shall endeavour to push them aside and only exhibit them when alone in the dark like all healthy adults do.

3. You don’t manage your own frustrations.

So, I wouldn’t call myself the most zen of mothers. Or really zen of anything. But according to this listicle, my un-zen-like state is impacting my children’s behaviour too, so I should do what I can to avoid these ‘trigger points’ and not be frustrated.

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For me, this is my kids getting ready for school at a sloth-like pace. Adding extra time was a suggestion from the article - apparently five or ten more minutes in the morning could potentially help my frustration from mounting. 

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The reality is, if I added more time in the morning to ‘alleviate’ this ‘trigger point’, my girls would just get slower, and putting a sock on would now take 20 minutes instead of 15.

4. You put down their playmates.

Only some and only behind theirs and my children’s back – that’s okay, right?

5. You label your child.

Oh, come on?! If you do not have a secret (or not so secret) label for your children are you even a parent?

Child A – The Chatterbox. Child B – The Funny One.

6. You compare your child to others.

Ditto.

*I would like to add to this that not all comparing is bad.  I usually do it because I am proud of my children, not because I'm being critical. And again, I internalise these comparisons, or only share them with a few close family members and friends who I know will share this same opinion of their awesomeness.

7. You say “you always…”

“You always take forever to get ready for school.” 

Yes, I do say this. Because it's true. 

8. You openly criticise yourself.

Self-reflection it is an important life skill.

9. You try to be your child’s best friend.

I don’t try – I just am. My girls are six and seven. They love makeup and jewellery. I have makeup and jewellery. This equates me with being their best friend (without trying).

10. You refuse to let them be independent.

Hoorah! I finally have one I don’t do. I'm all for independence – especially at 7pm of an evening when I'm holding a glass of wine.

11. You take your child’s behaviour personally.

Well it's hard not to take it personally when your daughter glares at you and calls you a “big meany!”

Yeah, it feels personal.

While my healthy bad parenting score of 10/11 may not seem like an achievement for some, for me, I'm actually okay with it because I know that I'm being myself. And at the end of the day, despite the earlier television show transgression and its subsequent injuries, my two girls are safe, loved and happy.

The cat however is still holding a grudge.

Shona Hendley, Mother of cats, goats and humans is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education. She is an animal lover and advocate, with a morbid fascination for true crime and horror movies. You can follow her on Instagram.

What's your score? Let us know in the comments.

Feature image: Supplied.


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